Josh Allen threw touchdown passes to four different receivers Monday night as the Buffalo Bills held onto sole possession first place in the AFC East with a 34-24 victory over the San Francisco 49ers at Glendale, Ariz.
Allen went 32 of 40 for 375 yards, his third-highest total of the season, as the Bills (9-3) won on Monday Night Football for the first time since 1999 with their neutral-site triumph at the site of the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers were forced from their facility in Santa Clara County by heightened COVID-19 restrictions.
The Bills retained a one-game lead in the AFC East over Miami (8-4), which lost at home to Buffalo in Week 2 of the season. The clubs are scheduled to meet again at Buffalo in Week 17.
The loss was a costly one for the 49ers (5-7) in their late run at a playoff spot in the NFC. The defending conference champs remained in last place in the NFC West with just four games remaining.
Allen threw two TD passes in each half, including 23 yards to Isaiah McKenzie in the third quarter and 28 yards to Gabriel Davis in the fourth, each coming after the 49ers had closed within 10 points.
Cole Beasley and Dawson Knox also had TD catches for Buffalo, with Beasley’s coming as part of a career-best, 130-yard night on nine catches.
Stefon Diggs was one better than Beasley in receptions with 10, going for 92 yards.
Brandon Aiyuk, Kyle Juszczyk and Jordan Reed caught touchdown passes for the 49ers from Nick Mullens, who threw for 316 yards but also suffered two interceptions.
The 49ers were seeking to become the first team in Monday Night Football history to record 50 wins.
Buffalo’s Devin Singletary was the game’s leading rusher with 61 yards on 18 carries.
The Bills took the lead for good in a 17-point second quarter, getting the better of a first 30 minutes that included two goal-line stands, a Buffalo fumble inside its own 5-yard line that led to San Francisco’s only score of the half and a 49ers interception that was negated by an illegal-contact penalty on Richard Sherman, leading to the Bills’ go-ahead score.
Allen threw for 236 yards and two TD’s in the half, connecting with Beasley on a 5-yarder early in the second period to get Buffalo on the scoreboard, then with Knox on a 4-yarder to cap the drive kept alive by the Sherman penalty.
Beasley had seven catches for 113 yards in the half, helping Buffalo run up a 277-122 dominance in total yards. The Bills finished with a 449-402 advantage.